Scottish Comedian of the Year 2014

SCOTTISH COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR 2014 entries now open. Final at O2 Academy Glasgow on Sunday 28th September.

Winner gets £1500 & trip to Adelaide Fringe & EdFringe show next year like loveable Larry Dean who keeps selling out.

Enter if you’re Scottish & can be arsed. Don’t bother if you’re not or can’t. First heats immediately after EdFringe so fill the form out ASAP.

Limited numbers this year because I don’t have the time to travel everywhere so be quick and enter and be funnier than these English counts.

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https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?usp=drive_web&formkey=dDM2bW9QcVJ3SnhOelpRWmpHS3Q3aFE6MA#gid=0

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Double page spread for double Scottish Comedy Awards winner Gary Little

Double page spread for double Scottish Comedy Awards winner Gary Little

AFTER his triumph at this week’s Scottish Comedy Awards, Gary Little joked that his last great win was a table tennis tournament in prison.

He was speaking only partly in jest, since he has served two jail terms and is actually a dab hand at ping pong.

In the audience at a recent gig there were two prison officers and four former inmates.

“It was cons reunited,” said Gary.

Sipping green tea in a Glasgow cafe and enthusing about hill climbing, if Gary now seems far removed from a criminal life, it’s because he is.

The comedian, who won Best Headline and Best Show at the inaugural awards, is a mate of Kevin Bridges, who is also a fan.

Gary is so popular on the circuit that at Glasgow’s recent comedy festival he headlined four venues in a night.

He said: “I regret landing in jail but I can’t change it. I took my punishment and lost years of my life. But I hope I’m an example of how you can turn it around. It doesn’t matter what your past is, you can move on.”

At 6ft 2in, the man they call “Big Gary Little” is a boulder of a bloke, an animator’s impression of a typical Glasgow hardman.

He said: “I play up to that image and it stops the hecklers but I’m actually easy going and I was never a fighter.”

He is a natural raconteur and his act is gallus, but sharp. Glaswegian in flavour with universal themes.

It’s 20 years since he was sentenced to eight years for dealing in ecstasy, landing in Barlinnie but, with good behaviour, moving to an open prison and release after four years.

He said: “I didn’t set out to deal. I was clubbing a lot and I just started getting it for friends and it developed. It wasn’t something I planned and I haven’t touched them for years.

“Prison was daunting but it’s like a big school, you know people from your own area.

“You quickly get into a routine. I put my head down and got on with it. I read a lot and went to the gym and put on four stone.”

Prison – like the other dark theme in his life, depression – makes it into his act.

He said: “Everyone knows the scary stuff from prison but there is a lot of humour, winding each other up.

“There was a hard con who was terrified of wasps, so every September they spread jam on the outside of his window to attract them.

“He thought the wasps could sense he was scared of them.”

On his release, Gary, 50, found a job working the night shift for Harper Collins but was jailed in 2008 for selling £50,000 of books on eBay.

He said: “They pulped so many books. I thought it was a waste. So I thought, rather than throw them out, I’d take them. I started out with a couple but, before I knew it, I had
100 per cent positive feedback on eBay.

“I shouldn’t have done it but it won’t be in the annals of Scottish crime history.”

At his original hearing at the High Court in Glasgow, Lord McEwan told him it would be “unmerciful” to add to his troubles by jailing him.

The judge said: “My view is that the right thing to do would be to make no order and hopefully he’ll be able to appear at the festival in Edinburgh. I might even go and see him.”

His decision was overturned and Gary is yet to spot Lord McEwan at a gig.

He spent seven months in open prison, at Castle Huntly, and had a short story published in a book that was distributed, ironically, by Harper Collins.

On his release, he was placed on an electronic tag for six months. The governor timed the curfew to allow Gary to play night-time gigs.

The humour came from his mum “Big Vera” who was “wee with a huge personality”.

She was a school cleaner and his dad was a plumber, and Gary and his four sisters were raised in Maryhill, Glasgow, the first few years in a house with an outside toilet.

They moved to the east end scheme of Balornock and basked in the luxury of three bedrooms and a garden.

It was a happy childhood and he was always the funny man.

“I was the idiot at the party you either think of as funny or an a*******,” he said.

Gary took to the stage in a gig for a mate at the Halt bar in Glasgow and it was a success.

He was then short-listed in a competition at the Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow and gradually he has built a career, travelling the UK and performing in New York.

He has suffered from depression and has performed mental health gigs, hoping to reduce the stigma associated with the illness.

He said: “I was probably depressed for a long time but, like a lot of Scottish men, I thought I was just moody. I was in my 30s before I got treated for it.

“People find it hard to talk about. It isn’t a visible hurt, like a wound or a broken leg.”

There were nights he slept fully clothed and couldn’t be bothered getting out of bed.

He talked about suicide to his doctor and he laughs that she told him his plan to kill himself with exhaust fumes wouldn’t work, as his car had a catalytic converter.

“I didn’t ever seriously consider it but I had the thoughts,” he said.

Comedy has given him a platform to share his life on a grand scale and it has been cathartic.

“It is an amazing feeling when you come off the stage. My act is about storytelling and a lot of it is personal, so when people laugh at it, it’s fantastic. The last year I’ve definitely stepped up a gear, but that comes with experience.”

Scottish Comedy Awards winners and photos

Arnold Brown receives Lifetime Achievement Award.

Arnold Brown receives Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lifetime Achievement – Arnold Brown

Outstanding Contribution to Comedy – Viv Gee

Best Headliner – Gary Little

Best Compere – Billy Kirkwood

Best Support Act – Susie McCabe

Best Newcomer – Jellybean Martinez

Best Comedy Actor / Actress – Greg McHugh

Best TV Show – Limmy’s Show

Best Radio Show – Mark Nelson’s Guide to Marriage

Best Podcast – Janey Godley’s Podcast

Best Online Contribution – Darren Connell’s Twitter

Best Comedy Writer – How Do I Get Up There?

Best Festival or Tour Show – Gary Little : The Thing Is

Best Sketch Improv Group – Stu & Gary

Best TV Comedian – Daniel Sloss

Best Radio Comedian – Fred MacAulay

Best Central Belt Comedy Club (small) – Vespbar, Glasgow

Best Central Belt Comedy Club (large) – The Stand, Glasgow

Best Regional Comedy Club – Blue Lamp, Aberdeen

Best Event – Glasgow Stands Up For The Clutha

 

Arnold Brown receives Lifetime Achievement Award. (L) Bruce Morton (R) Des Clarke.

Arnold Brown receives Lifetime Achievement Award. (L) Bruce Morton (R) Des Clarke.

Des Clarke & St Mirren Manager Andy Vaughan

Des Clarke & St Mirren Manager Andy Vaughan

Des Clarke & St Mirren Manager Andy Vaughan who received Mark Nelson's award.

Des Clarke & St Mirren Manager Andy Vaughan who received Mark Nelson’s award.

Des Clarke with Saverio Petri from The Clutha

Des Clarke with Saverio Petri from The Clutha

Des CLarke and Big Garry Little

Des CLarke and Big Garry Little

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Sorting out live link with Altitude Comedy Festival Mayrhofen

Sorting out live link with Altitude Comedy Festival Mayrhofen

scottish comedy awards 2014 blythswood hotel  (4)

Alan Anderson and Des Clarke

Alan Anderson and Des Clarke

Alan Anderson and Des Clarke

Alan Anderson and Des Clarke

Alan Anderson, Viv Gee, Des Clarke and Arnold Brown

Alan Anderson, Viv Gee, Des Clarke and Arnold Brown

Arnold Brown and Viv Gee

Arnold Brown and Viv Gee

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Arnold Brown roasts Des Clarke and Bruce Morton

Arnold Brown roasts Des Clarke and Bruce Morton

Bruce Morton, Arnold Brown and Des Clarke

Bruce Morton, Arnold Brown and Des Clarke

Viv Gee, Des Clarke and Arnold Brown

Viv Gee, Des Clarke and Arnold Brown

Des Clarke

Des Clarke

Stu and Gary

Stu and Gary

Des Clarke, Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie

Des Clarke, Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie

Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie

Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie

Billy Kirkwood

Billy Kirkwood

Billy Kirkwood

Billy Kirkwood

Richard Melvin and Billy Kirkwood

Richard Melvin and Billy Kirkwood

Des Clarke and Greg McHugh

Des Clarke and Greg McHugh

A couple of Fannies aka Susie McCabe and Gary Little

A couple of Fannies aka Susie McCabe and Gary Little

Susie McCabe

Susie McCabe

Darren Connell

Darren Connell

Darren Connell

Darren Connell

 

Jellybean Martinez and Liam Withnail

Jellybean Martinez and Liam Withnail

Arnold Brown and Viv Gee to be honoured at inaugural Scottish Comedy Awards.

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Two of Scotland’s the most influential comedians; Arnold Brown and Viv Gee, will be honoured by their peers this Monday evening at the inaugural Scottish Comedy Awards in Glasgow’s Blythswood Hotel on Monday 31st March 2014 at 7pm.

All comedians and comedy people of Scotland are most welcome to join us at the event.

Arnold Brown will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award whilst Viv Gee will receive the award for Outstanding Contribution To Comedy.

Arnold Brown was on stage at the opening night of the Comedy Store in 1979. A founder member of the “Comic Strip”, he had cameos in TV shows like “The Young Ones”, in indie films and even supported Frank Sinatra at Ibrox stadium. He won the Perrier Award for Comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe and has often been referred to as “the comedian’s comedian”.

For almost two decades comedian and poet Viv Gee has tutored many new comics at Strathclyde University’s Centre for Life Long Learning. Alumi include many Scottish Comedy circuit stalwarts including; Des Clarke, Des McLean, Jim Muir, Mark Nelson and Billy Kirkwood.

The full list of nominees and categories is below. The votes have been counted, double checked and triple checked.

Best Headliner

Gary Little
Janey Godley
Raymond Mearns
Mark Nelson
Vladimir McTavish

Best Compere

Billy Kirkwood
Jo Heenan
Raymond Mearns
Scott Agnew
Jojo Sutherland

Best Newcomer

Larry Dean
Ashley Storrie
Robin Grainger
Jim Smith
Susie McCabe
Jellybean Martinez

Best Comedy Actor / Actress

Greg McHugh
James Kirk
Sharon Rooney
Matthew Ellis

Best TV Show

2 Doors Down
Limmy’s Show
Scot Squad
Only an Excuse
Ginge Geordie & The Geek

Best Radio Show

Jo Caulfield’s Speakeasy
Mark Nelson’s Guide to Marriage
MacAulay and Co
Radio 4 Extra Stands Up
Sketchorama
The Lach Chronicles

Best Podcast

Amnesty International’s Secret Comedy Podcast
Janey Godley’s podcast
Living Room Sessions
Scottish Comedy FC
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Best Online Contribution

Darren Connell’s Twitter
Joe Heenan’s Twitter
Scottish Comedy FC
John Fleming’s Blog
Limmy’s Twitter

Best Support Act

Keir McAllister
Ray Bradshaw
Stu & Gary
Stuart Mitchell
Susie McCabe

Best Comedy Writer

Stephen Dick
Phil Differ
Keir McAllister
How Do I Get Up There
Ian Pattinson

Best Festival or Tour Show

Daniel Sloss: Stand Up
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna
Gary Little: The Thing Is
Richard Gadd: Cheese and Crack Whores
Bruce Fummey: Gaelic in the Afternoon
Raymond Mearns: Waking Up to Myself
Keir McAllister & Vladimir McTavish: Look at the state of

Best Sketch / Improv group

How Do I Get Up There
Stu & Gary
Broken Windows Policy
Greater Shawlands Republic
The Colour Ham
Ginge, Geordie & The Geek

Best TV Comedian

Limmy
Daniel Sloss
James Kirk
Susan Calman
Jonathon Watson

Best Radio Comedian

Fred MacAulay
Jo Caulfield
Mark Nelson
Susan Calman
Des Clarke

Best Central Belt Comedy Club (under 100 capacity)

The Halt Bar, Glasgow
Vespbar, Glasgow
The State Bar, Glasgow
The Beehive, Edinburgh
Dalriadia, Portobello
The Crow, Bishopbriggs

Best Central Belt Comedy Club (over 100 capacity)

The Stand, Glasgow
The Stand, Edinburgh
Jongleurs, Glasgow
Pleasance Cabaret Bar – Edinburgh
Regal theatre, Bathgate
Admiral Bar, Glasgow

Best Regional Comedy Club

Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine
Just Laugh, Dundee
The Star, Burntisland

Best Event

Comedians Rap Battle
Glasgow Stands Up For The Clutha
Rockness Comedy Tent
Scottish Comedian of the Year Final
Secret Policemen’s Ball (Glasgow QMU)

VOTING for Scottish Comedy Awards 2014

Voting is now open for the inaugural Scottish Comedy Awards. The aim of which is to celebrate high quality comedy and comedy talent produced in Scotland in 2013.

Voting is only open to Scottish Comedians and those working within the Scottish Comedy Industry.

Voting Closes on Monday 17th March 2014. The awards will be presented on Monday 31st March in Glasgow’s Blythswood Hotel.

The Scottish Comedy Awards panel reserves the right to withdraw vote submissions which cannot be accurately verified.

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Nominations Now Open

Nominations for the inaugural Scottish Comedy awards are now open.

Nominations are only open to Scottish Comedians or those in the Scottish Comedy Industry.

Once nominations close, the panel then meet up and sift through the nominations to select 4 per category.

So far the panel consists of:

Jojo Sutherland, Janey Godley, Paul Sneddon, Ben Verth, Billy Kirkwood, Bruce Fummey, Jay Lafferty and Jay Richardson.

We are hoping to also include a couple of other performers and non performers to the panel. If interested in joining please email alan@hahacomedy.co.uk

After the panel have narrowed down the nominations to four per category, voting will begin. Voting will only be open to those in the Scottish Comedy Industry.

Then the winners announced at a big piss up on Monday 31st March at Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow.

Scottish Comedy Awards Proposal

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The 2013 British Comedy Awards once again made headlines… mainly for all the wrong reasons. If it wasn’t the Daily Mail complaining about the vulgarity of the current crop of TV comics, it was John Maloney’s wonderful FaceBook reaction to the lack of acclaim for gigging circuit comedians. A couple of years ago the Perrier Award (Ok Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award… but it’s still the Perrier) and the Chortle Awards were given short shrift for the lack of female comedians on their short lists.

Well here’s a thing that has been ignored, At this year’s British Comedy Awards not one nominee was Scottish. Not one Scottish comedian, not one Scottish programme, not even one made up award for an international Scottish movie star who just happened to be in the city. I can’t even recall one of the award presenters being Scottish. However we are continually told that the London meeja is full of Scots. We know for a fact that some of the biggest selling comedians in the UK are Scots. We watch and listen to some incredibly innovative and hilarious TV and radio by Scots – granted there is also some absolute pish that is commissioned by BBC Scotland – No matter, it is time that we properly celebrated the comedic talent Scotland has to offer. The london based media are not going to do it for us, we should do it ourselves.

Every year for a month, the UK’s comedy critics focus their sights on our capital city. They do not however give anywhere near as much proportional attention to home grown acts as they do the over hyped Russell wannabes from doon sooth. Occasionally Chortle will review a couple of shows at the Glasgow Comedy Festival. Likewise, at the organisers expense, Steve Bennett comes to Glasgow to review the Scottish Comedian of the Year final. But other than that, very little proper critiquing or celebration of Scottish comedy takes place. Take the recent Clutha gig for example. Had that line up of comedians, for such a high profile event, taken place anywhere in London, Birmingham, Brighton or Manchester there would have been numerous reviews by highly regarded comedy critics. In recent months Chortle has reviewed charity galas in all four of the aforementioned cities, with several acts performing and being critiqued in multiple shows. The Clutha gig would have offered an opportunity to review at least a dozen top Scottish acts who have not been reviewed by Chortle in the last three or four years.

To be clear, this is not a dig at Chortle. I am using it as an example of the lack of London based media interest in what happens on the Scottish Comedy circuit.

2014 is a big year for Scottish politics, sport and culture. We should make it a big year for Scottish Comedy too. We should celebrate it properly. The Scottish Legal, Advertising, Marketing, Events, Rock, Film, Fashion, Design, Business and even Architecture industries have annual awards ceremonies, so why not the Scottish Comedy Industry?

Politics, simple politics and fear. Fear of awarding success in comedy. Well fuck it. Two things last week’s Clutha gig showed me is how resourceful an industry we are and that if given a kick up the backside we will happily cast aside petty differences to work together for a positive outcome.

So here is my proposal… I would like there to be an annual, totally inclusive Scottish Comedy Awards, voted for by the comedians, promoters, journalists, agents, venue staff and TV / Radio production staff of the Scottish comedy circuit, be they open spots, large theatres or the Head of Entertainment for BBC Scotland.

How would it work?

Well first off we would need to sort out categories to award and a means to award them.

For 8 years now I have been told that Since Frankie Boyle, Kevin Bridges, Des Clarke, Janey Godley or Raymond Mearns never entered the Scottish Comedian of the Year competition that it is never won the best Scottish comedian. Well it is a competition for which you need to be brilliant in the final and more crucially you need to be in it to win it. The Scottish Comedy Awards would celebrate year round talent, not only that, but celebrate talent of all levels from newbies to auld hacks.

So, the categories:

Best Headliner

Best Support Act

Best Compere

Best Open Spot

Best Comedy Actor/Actress

Best TV / Radio comic

Best Tour / Fringe Show

Best TV Show

Best Radio Show

Best Podcast

Best Large Comedy Venue – e.g. Old Fruitmarket or Kings Theatre

Best Chain Comedy Venue – e.g. The Stand Glasgow or Jongleurs Glasgow

Best Comedy Club – e.g. The Crow Bishopbriggs or Beehive Edinburgh

I am sure there are other possibilities for categories, the above are just my own initial thoughts. Tell me what you think.

How winners are chosen:

Everyone in the Scottish Comedy industry gets the chance to nominate 3 people / things per category. The actual logistics of how this is done can be sorted at a later date. My initial thoughts are that everyone fills out a google docs form and includes their name, email address and what their connection to comedy is.

Then: 

A panel of about 8 – 12 people – a mixture of respected promoters, comics, venue staff and journalists – whittle down through the nominations to give 3 or 4 Nominees per category.

Then:

Everyone in the Scottish Comedy industry gets to vote.  Again this would be with some  type of google docs form or similar. A more techy mind will come up with a plan that helps prevent cunts from multiple voting.

Finally:

We have a big piss up, sorry… awards bash. I don’t think we would do a black tie sit down meal affair. More likely get a fancy bar for the night – a neutral space with zero comedy connections, somehow blag a drinks tab and then shambolically announce the winners and slag them off.

All of the above is just an idea. For it to work it needs you guys to take ownership of it.  It needs you guys to tell me what you think will work and what you think will not work.

Most important of all, think of the media attention the event will get and the increased awareness that the nominated and winning acts will receive doon sooth.

More media coverage and more titles means better chances for progression both individually and collectively as a circuit that is slowly diminishing due to the economic constraints of our audiences.

What do you think?